I read your bio and see that you have dyslexia. Surely, you trying to write is like someone who is scared of heights, climbing a mountain?!
Ha, ha! - That's a great analogy to use for me. I am Acrophobic and yet I have climbed 3 mountains. What I am saying is that I don't like the word 'can't' - I regard it as a challenge. I still get giddy and my heart races at heights but I no longer freeze. I tell myself that it's a very rational fear and that it's trying to do me a favour.
As for writing, and reading for that matter; I can't deny that having a brain that twists pairs of letters and numbers is a challenge and it has held me back. However, once I was diagnosed and I understood what was happening, I have learnt to manage the condition. I still read very slowly and when editing the first chapter of Turf Wars, I found 17 examples of teh (the) in just that chapter. I didn't see them - I saw 'the' but on typing teh into Word's search, the word processor highlighted them all for me.
What inspired you to write your novel, Turf Wars?
I was inspired during an Environmental Sciences lesson at Nobel School in Stevenage, way back in 1976. My teacher; Mrs Nikki Edwards, very eloquently described a food-chain; It was plankton to sharks if I remember correctly. During that lesson, I made my first, very dyslexic, scribblings that 5 attempts and forty years later became the ecological thriller Turf Wars.
So, you imagined a disaster scenario caused by a break in our food chain. Did you have a very active imagination when you were at school?
Oh, yes! - One of my friends and I would challenge each other to make up a ridiculous story concerning another pupil. Then, we would tell this story to just one other student, choosing one who was unlikely to talk to the student that the story concerned. This usually caused a weird version of Chinese Whispers. Eventually, the targetted student would challenge us about the story. A story that had, almost always, been both exaggerated and elaborated by the time it was repeated. This didn't always work though - sometimes one of us would just end up being the subject of a lot of weird looks and whispering!
How have you found the process of selling books for yourself?
Hmmm, both easy and difficult at the same time: The mechanical processes on Smashwords and Amazon are reasonably straight forward, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly my first book was published and initial sales rolled in. But then everything slowed and a week would go by without a single sale. Creating a website, Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In promo's, all generated short bursts of sales but that's all.
Getting and keeping reviews is my biggest problem: Hundreds of sales / give-aways of the eBook and 130 paperbacks later and yet only a splattering of reviews. Then I realised that readers who befriended me on social media were having their reviews deleted with existing friends complaining that they were unable to leave reviews. So now, I ask for reviews to be sent directly to my website - cut out the sensors altogether!
You can see some of the deleted reviews at www.rt-print/reviews
What are you working on next?
I am writing a para qual to Turf Wars - Ingleton Manor. I'll forgive you if you don't know what a 'para qual' is... I had to look it up myself! It's a story that happens in the same timeline as the first. Neither a prequel (before) nor a sequel (following). This story will follow a different group of people as the environmental disaster unfolds - The Marauders!
Who are your favorite authors?
Being dyslexic, I find reading very difficult. I have to read a paragraph once to decode it, then again to get the meaning. As a result, I am not 'well read'. However, this does mean that I have developed a style of writing unlike any other - no one is ever going to accuse me of plagiarism!
But, to actually answer the question: Arthur C Clarke, Charlotte Bronte and Jeremy Clarkson, form my, eclectic top-three authors.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I wake up at 7 every morning. I set an alarm but I really don't need it. I get straight up, feed the chickens and make the first of many cups of coffee. My inspiration? To see what this day will bring and what I can bring to the day. Oh, did I really just say that? If I wrote something like that, it would quickly be edited out!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a bit of a tele addict but often my mind isn't fully on the program. I'll be trying to predict the end or wondering how the same story would work in a different time or on another planet. Then, there's what I do when I have writer's block or just can't be arsed to write - I'll either kill a good number of pigs in Angry Birds or grab my camera and go for a walk.
How do you approach cover design?
Simple... I get someone who knows what they are doing to do it for me. I have ideas but absolutely no artistic talent what-so-ever. Oh, how I hate people who say "I hear that dyslexics are so artistic" - Not all of them!
Describe your desk
Oh, ... Clutter... Notes. The wrong glasses. A word recognition headset that just doesn't work. In the morning an empty coffee cup - the evening an empty glass. Two screens and somewhere, yes, ... somewhere under that clutter, is my keyboard.
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